El Salto del Fraile

The saga of a forbidden love
(The Flying Monk)

While taking cycle tour in Lima, I came across this beautiful restaurant facing the sea and with a fantastic view.I stopped my bicycle to take some pictures and then realised that it was one of the stops on the sightseeing tour. After exploring and taking pictures of the cliff the tour guide started to tell us a story about the significance of this place.

In 1860, there were two noble families who lived in Lima, the Marquis of Sarria and the Molina . Mr.Molina was a widower so had a nanny to look after his 12 year old daughter Clara. The nanny had a son named Francisco, who was about 3 years older and fell in love with Clara. They were madly in love to the extent that beautiful Clara became pregnant. This caused an uproar in the society of the time.

The authorities were offended, ordered that Francisco be locked up in the Convent and was forced to become a MONK. Clara’s father decided to take her on a trip far away and probably never return.The day Clara was leaving for this trip, Francisco’s mother told her that her son would be waiting for her to say goodbye at the top of a cliff so when her boat passes the coast, she could see him through a spyglass and say her goodbye.

In the evening on the highest rock, the Monk with his hands raised said goodbye to his beloved, she with a broken heart watched him. Suddenly, he launched himself into the depths of the sea leaving only the love he professed for her. Clara could not bear the idea of staying without him, living alone in this world was not an option, the pain she felt was deep and she found no better idea than to jump into the sea from where she was. So the two would finally be together for eternity and no prejudice would separate them.

So to pay homage to this eternal love, a restaurant was built at that site called El Salto del Fraile. While this story was being narrated, we spotted the monk who was making various signals standing right on the edge of the cliff ! Before I knew it, there were people who started to gather around. It was obvious to me that something spectacular is about to happen and I grabbed my camera and positioned myself at a strategic point to capture the happening.

The man dressed as the monk plunged himself into the sea in between the dangerous rocks just to recreate the scene that took place over 160 years ago, leaving the crowd present at that point awestruck. I had a chance to see him after and he told me that he does it 2-3 times a day and it’s his purpose. People were willingly contributing money for his act. I fondly remember him as the Flying monk !

Written by Namit Khanna

Date:12th June 2020